MIL-OSI United Nations: Secretary-General’s press encounter on the forthcoming G7 Summit

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Source: United Nations secretary general

[Opening remarks are below; full transcript will be posted shortly]

Dear Members of the press, 
 
It is wonderful to be back in Geneva. 
 
I have just come from Jordan, where the United Nations co-hosted a conference on the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. 
 
From here I will go to the G7 Summit in Italy. 
 
My message is very clear:
 
This is a critical time. 
 
We face profound global challenges on multiple fronts.  
 
And the G7 leaders have a particular responsibility.  
 
First, on climate. 
 
We’re reaping the whirlwind of climate inaction – with devastating floods, fires, droughts and heat. 
 
The European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported last week that May 2024 was the hottest May ever recorded. 
 
That makes twelve straight months of the hottest months ever.  
 
And the World Meteorological Organisation reported an eighty per cent chance that global annual average temperature will cross 1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one of the next five years. 
 
In 2015, the chance of such a breach was near zero.
 
The window for action is rapidly closing.  
 
Naturally, to have an over-shooting above 1.5 for a short period will not put into question the objective of 1.5 as a long-term objective for the end of the century.  But the possibility of that over-shooting increases our responsibility to accelerate climate action to make it as limited and as short-term as possible. 

Countries must deliver new national climate plans by next year.  Those plans must align with the international community’s commitment to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees.  
 
That means a just global phase out of fossil fuels – which account for 85% of global emissions. 
 
And the biggest countries have a responsibility to go furthest, fastest. 
 
For the G7 that means committing to end coal power by 2030. 
 
It means creating fossil-fuel free power systems, and cutting supply and demand for oil and gas by sixty percent – by 2035.  
 
And it means supporting a just global transition to clean energy. 
 
Globally, renewables are booming. 
 
But many countries are being left in the dark.
 
Developing and emerging economies outside China have seen clean energy investments stuck at the same levels since 2015. 
 
Africa was home to less than one percent of last year’s renewables installations, despite its wealth of resources and its vast potential.  
 
We need advanced economies to rally behind the emerging and developing ones:
 
To show climate solidarity by providing the technological and financial support they need to cut emissions. 
 
We need a clear commitment from the G7 on doubling finance for adaptation by next year, and closing the adaptation finance gap. And the G7 Adaptation
Accelerator Hub must be translated into concrete action by COP29 this year. 
 
We also need more systemic change. 
 
That is the second area for G7 action. 
 
Our international financial architecture is outdated, dysfunctional and unfair. 
 
The rich are over-represented; the poor are under served. 
 
It needs reform so that it better represents developing countries and responds to their needs;  
 
Reform that substantially increases the lending capacity of multilateral development banks; 
 
And reforms that change their business model – so that they can provide far more finance for climate action and sustainable development and leverage massive amounts of private finance.  
 
This is particularly important for African countries – one of the items of the G7 -some of whom spend more on average on servicing their debt than on health, education and infrastructure combined.  
 
Let’s not forget it is an embarrassment that Africa still has no permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council.
 
And we must act urgently on artificial intelligence – another of the items for the G7 – a central question of governance today. 
 
These technologies are racing ahead of regulation. They’re being rolled out with virtually no regard for the consequences. And they are inflaming tensions and divisions.  
 
All of these is a recipe for profound instability.
 
AI must support human rights, sustainable development, and benefit all humanity. 
 
The Independent Advisory Body that I appointed has identified clear priorities for AI governance. 
 
These include: the creation of an International Scientific Panel on AI; a regular policy dialogue on AI Governance; common AI ethics and standards; strengthened data governance; and global financial commitments to support developing countries. 
 
I also welcome the Advisory Body’s recommendation for a new small, dynamic, and flexible United Nations AI Office, which would report directly to me. 
 
We’ll also take full profit of the capacity of the International Telecommunication Union as demonstrated in the recent AI for Good Summit.

The Summit of the Future in September is an opportunity to advance progress on all of these issues. 
 
And the place of G7 countries in the global economy and institutions give them a unique responsibility and opportunity to push for change. 
 
Finally, the G7 has a critical role to play in peace. 
 
Peace in the Middle East – and I welcome President Biden’s recent peace initiative and urge all parties to seize the opportunity for a ceasefire and release of the hostages, and prepare the ground for a two-state solution. 
 
We must also keep working for peace in Ukraine – a just peace, based on the United Nations Charter and international law. 
 
Around the world, we must never let up in pursuit of solutions that affirm – and do not undermine – international law, including international humanitarian law:  
 
Every time, everywhere.  
 
These are the messages I will be carrying with me to Italy. 
 
Thank you.
 

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